If you’ve been training even for a short time, there’s no doubt you’ve heard the hype surrounding the deadlift. Often described as the “king of mass builders,” the deadlift is probably the best and most practical movement in or out of the gym – an exercise that’s essential for building mass, strength, power and even speed.
If you’ve made the mistake of excluding the deadlift from your training plan, here’s how and why you should make it part of your program!
- It works virtually every major muscle, with emphasis on the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, abs, traps, most muscles of your back, and also your forearms. In particular, it strengthens the muscles of your posterior chain – the hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors – which improves your body’s capacity of functional movement.
- Compound lifts like the deadlift use the most muscle groups and cause the natural increase of testosterone and growth hormone.
- Unlike other exercises, it’s uncomplicated and simple. There’s no spotter needed. It’s just you, the barbell and the weight. The deadlift doesn’t need a rack – just a small section of floor space in the gym.
- It’s versatile – nearly every physique goal can benefit. Whether you’re looking to build muscle, lose fat, prevent injury or just be healthier overall, the deadlift is for you.
- It builds power and speed when performing explosive movements – meaning it will help you become better at sports. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that performing deadlifts twice weekly for 10 weeks experienced increased torque capacities in both knee extensors and flexors, which were associated with improvements in vertical jump height. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25226322
Choose Your Deadlift
The most common deadlift – done with your hands just outside your feet, standing at about hip-width apart. Keeping a neutral spine throughout the lift is vital. Take a deep breath in, and while keeping your entire back and core tight and your chest up, drive through your heels and pull.
Your hands are inside your feet with a wider stance. The bar has less distance to travel – lessening the stress on your lower back. It also benefits shorter, thicker lifters who may not have as much mobility.
Hex or Trap Bar Deadlifts
These are performed using a specialty bar. The trap bar allows you to step inside it rather than behind it, leading to a more upright position that reduces the amount of sheer force on the spine.
Snatch Grip Deadlift
Your hands will use a wide grip like in the snatch. This variation also has a shorter range of motion and has the added benefit of stimulating more upper-back and trap development.
Not to be confused with the “stiff-legged deadlift” (a lift that we don’t recommend), the Romanian deadlift is more of is a hip hinge. You will you maintain a slight bend in your knees, all while pushing your butt back as far as you can. Lower the weight only as far as you can go while a maintaining a flat back.